Countries that are predominantly Shia and countries that are predominantly Sunni – the intensifying civil war in Iraq with the Sunni militant outfit ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Syria and al-Sham/the Levant) rapidly gaining grounds and threatening the Shia-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad – and the major Shia and Sunni powers engaged in reacting on and influencing the future course of action in the predominantly Shia Iraq – it is to worsen even more.

Iraq is staring at the real chances of its borders redrawn in the near future – on the ethnic lines – the Shia dominated areas – the Sunni dominated areas – the Kurd dominated areas – but what about the areas having the mix populations – the bloodbath is spilling over with ISIS marching ahead carrying out the ethnic cleansing of killing Shias in the towns captured – it is expected to continue until some ‘arrangement’ is reached.

Until the help comes – from inside, aided by Iran, with military and advisory support and aided by the different Shia militias (including suicide bombers), like the one by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, whom no ‘civilized army’ would like to be on its side – or from outside, explicitly by Iran, in the name of protecting the religious Shia shrines in cities like Najaf and Karbala, ISIS has been vocal about – or from outside, the US-led strategic and targeted attacks on ISIS, but the US needs a new government in Iraq before that.

These are the possibilities that need escalation and quick implementation and in the prevailing geopolitical scenarios, one or more of them are bound to happen, and bound to happen soon, given the pace of ISIS rapid advances. They are on the way to rout the largest Iraqi province Anbar with its fourth city Rutba, a strategic win, falling to the Sunni militants today. Anbar is predominantly Sunni and the whole province is expected to fall soon.

ISIS has three strategic border crossings at Syrian border and Jordanian borders already under its control, the BBC says – also, Rutba is 150 Kms from the Jordanian border and is strategically placed between Jordan and Baghdad according to the BBC – so, their Iraq game-plan is moving along with the ‘Levant’ game-plan – and they are proving sturdy because they are getting support from the local Sunni populations, from the tribal leaders and from the countries that are predominantly Sunni, like Saudi Arabia’s strong objection to the external interference in the ongoing Iraqi affairs – and Iraq’s Shiite leadership is to owe the blame for it.

The US is right in asking for Maliki’s head – ‘reconciliation’ (used by the US President Barack Obama – a key word of US intent on its proposed roadmap in Iraq) may be a soft and outrightly misplaced word here given the ISIS brutality – but it is true the current dispensation governing Iraq from Baghdad is to share the blame – by turning Iraq, with a sizeable Sunni population, into a Shiite hegemony – the unrest was brewing and the ‘backfired acts’ by Iraq’s Shia government targeting the Sunni population and the areas made elements fall in place for ISIS to take over.

And it is on now – inviting more, sucking more – asking for blood – killing families – destroying neighbourhoods – mutilating humanity – but who cares for such words in a war – and it is worse – it is a war on religious lines – where fighters not only follow the orders blindly – they follow it with a zeal of inhuman excesses.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Now that Italy’s unexpected loss to Costa Rica (though nothing is unexpected in a Football World Cup) has eliminated England from the FIFA World Cup 2014, the added layer of critique, the scrutiny of the English team performance, that was already there with England’s two defeats in first two matches, has taken more acerbic shades.

After losing the Uruguay match, England were almost out of the World Cup, depending on Italy’s performance to continue further. Italy needed to win its next matches and England’s performance coupled with some statistical equations could have ensured its survival. But that didn’t happen.

And the scrutiny has become the outright criticism now, especially by sports commentators and English fans.

But it was not what is being written, especially for someone like me, who doesn’t watch the professional Football but is a World Cup enthusiast. I enjoyed the game by the English team. They played well and were equal and at par in both of their matches.

Yes, the rivals teams did walk away with the win but none of the games were one-sided affair. In fact, none of the days were for England (it is the story of some missed chances Vs some chances that scored).

In the match against Uruguay, it was indeed Uruguay’s and Suarez’s day. Luis Suarez was the differentiator. Wayne Rooney could never be what Suarez was able to do (after returning to the ground from a knee surgery).

Yes, Uruguay was better at times but England did try to catch up sincerely and it reflected in many moves they made in the 2nd half but except Rooney’s first World Cup finals goal (yes, he could get it, finally, in the 75th minute of the match), none of the moves hit the target. In the meanwhile, the day came to favour Suarez to score over the equalizer by Rooney (after his first hit in the 39th minute).

Suarez proved the winning card for Uruguay backed with a good overall team performance. England played at par as well if we see the overall show but it was Uruguay’s and Suarez’s day in this do or die match for the two teams. Yes, Uruguay remain and England are out of the World Cup now, but let’s not say they ‘crashed out’. They played spirited Football in both of their matches.

No more full length watching of matches on TV for two days now. Match highlights are good enough. The next match I have planned to catch is USA Vs Portugal 3:30 AM India time tomorrow.

It’s time for some good moments, some quality TV viewing time..

Enjoy the game. You don’t need to be a soccer expert for it. Football was never my first love, yes, but the FIFA World Cup is different.

The motion, the action, the crowds, all so volatile, all so paced up, like the high-pitched notes of every type of foot-thumping music – it’s so charming, so loving, so captivating.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –